Zetland Court


Zetland Court is one of seventeen RMBI homes in the UK and is situated in its own grounds, a short walk from the beach in a peaceful area of Westbourne, near Bournemouth. Originally built in 1860 it has changed owners over the years eventually being bought for the RMBI by the Masonic Province of Dorset in the 1980s.


Zetland court was built in 1860 on a parcel of land from the Alum Cliff Estate by a Mr Charles A King and was originally known as Branksome Dene. Twenty years later it became the Seaside Villa of Lord and Lady Wimborne of Canford, who considerably extended the building and then sold it on to Sir Ernest Cassel, a publisher and banker. Sir Ernest left the estate to his granddaughter, Edwina in 1922 who later married and became Lady Edwina Mountbatten.  After her ownership many others followed and over the years it has been a renowned vegetarian hotel and a home for elderly Jews before falling derelict in the 1970s.


Following a search for a suitable property in the South, a survey of the site by architects from the RMBI was carried out in 1978 and they concluded that it was suitable for their needs subject to certain alterations. Dorset Freemasons raised £267,392 to purchase the site and a stone laying ceremony took place on 22nd May 1980. The PGM for Dorset, RWBro Montague John Scott Williams presided, ably assisted by his Deputy, Assistant, Secretary, Charity Steward and Chaplain. The tools used for the ceremony are in the Dorset Provincial Museum in Branksome. This stone was eventually repositioned and is now in the reception area at the home.

Over the next two years a complete restoration of the building was undertaken, the RMBI covering all the costs. Zetland Court was eventually handed over to the RMBI by the architects in 1982 with the first residents moving in that November and with the official opening by HRH the Duke of Kent on 21st April 1983.


The Province of Hampshire & IOW funded a new extension which was erected at this time originally called the Richard Bond wing, named after Major General Bond the PGM for Hants & IoW between 1964-74, which cost a further £250,000.


A cheque for this amount was presented to the Grand Master by the PGM for Hants & IoW RWBro Thomas Langton and a plaque was unveiled to declare the extension open. This sum was originally earmarked by the Province to build flats for elderly Brethren but the plan was eventually shelved in favour of the new wing. This wing was originally used for nursing care of residents.

The Province of Wiltshire became actively involved and was a major source of new  memberships to the Association of Friends, this was particularly enhanced when RWBro Byron Carron PGM made it his favoured charity during his first year in office.

Zetland Court is run and staffed by the RMBI. It is registered for 63 residents, 15 in the Dementia Unit and 45 in residential care in the main building. There are also 3 residential rooms which take married couples.

A major refurbishment programme has been carried out in recent years by the RMBI, to provide new facilities for all the residents, lifts, telephones, re-wiring, plumbing as well as re-decoration of the whole building. About a third of the home was shut down at a time to allow the work to be carried out. Unfortunately it was not possible at that time to install specific specialized dementia accommodation in the main building at Zetland Court because of its listed building status, building constraints and planning regulations, but this has now been addressed in the former nursing wing.


In 2016 the nursing wing was remodelled into a dedicated Dementia Unit now known as Red Admiral View. This was officially opened at the 2016 Summer Fair. This area now provides bright stimulating accommodation, a colourful secure garden with potting shed and vegetable area and a separate sensory courtyard garden for relaxation. It has been identified that there are a number of different types of dementia at the home all having individual needs.


The new unit is constantly evolving in order to aid in the management of the onset of dementia care and its treatment.

It is unfortunately inevitable that there will be more residents with signs of dementia in the future.

For more information please click here.